Nov 25, 2021
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Will Putin throw United Russia, like Nazarbayev, his party of power?

Photo: Former President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev and President of Kazakhstan Kassym-Zhomart Tokayev (from left to right)

Photo: Former President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev and President of Kazakhstan Kassym-Zhomart Tokayev (left to right) (Photo: AP / TASS)

First President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbaev decided to transfer the powers of the chairman of the Nur Otan party of power to the current president of the country Kassym-Jomartu Tokayev… This will happen at the next congress.

“It will be important if the Nur Otan party is headed by the country’s president, who determines the policy and strategy. We have always been like this … This is an important step that needs to be taken in order to demonstrate our unity, ”Nazarbayev explained his decision.

“It should be understood that regardless of the positions held and regalia, Nursultan Abishevich remains the leader of our nation – Elbasy,” the press secretary of Nazarbayev emphasized. Aidos Ukibai… He called the decision to leave the party as a logical continuation of the transit of power.

The Nur Otan party explained that “this is a clear signal to everyone inside and outside the country about the monolith of power and a common commitment to the policy of continuity.” And “this step completely refutes all innuendo and various conspiracy theories about dual power.”

In the spring of 2021, Nazarbayev handed over to Tokayev the powers of head of the Assembly of the People of Kazakhstan (an advisory body for the development of provisions for national policy), although he could have headed it for life. “All questions should be in the same hands,” Elbasy explained then.

The transfer of power in Kazakhstan is likely to be closely watched in Russia, where a similar procedure may be initiated in 2024. Can Vladimir Putin in this case, to maintain the balance of power in a society torn apart by political and socio-economic contradictions?

Director General of the Institute of Regional Problems Dmitry Zhuravlev emphasizes that Nazarbayev’s departure from power did not become fatal for his country.

– Kazakhstan was ruled by an authoritarian president. In this case, the word “authoritarian” is not a curse word. The first power after the Soviet one is inevitably authoritarian. The same role was played by Boris Yeltsin, but he could not do it efficiently, since he worked too much with documents. But Nazarbayev’s authoritarianism helped him to rigidly divide power and business. There is no such corruption as we had in the 1990s. Nazarbayev did not allow capital to go into financial speculation. Therefore, now the Kazakh capitalist, in the worst case scenario, extracts raw materials and sends them to the West.

The Russian capitalist is primarily a financier. In Russia, they failed to cope with the task of limiting speculation in the 1990s. Therefore, now Russian capital is not very efficient. After all, financial speculators do not objectively care what is happening in the country. With a similar structure of a raw materials, export-oriented economy, Russian capital is almost entirely in the West, while Kazakhstani capital is still in Kazakhstan. They managed to avoid many Russian problems. For example, the level of social stratification there is lower than ours.

Nazarbayev, realizing that Kazakhstan is not Russia and he will not be a great empire, managed to firmly tie the interests of the West to the interests of Kazakhstan.

If Uzbekistan was proud of the fact that it did not sell anything to anyone, then Kazakhstan under Nazarbayev always went to the maximum attraction of investments. After all, investments are not only money and technology, but first of all guarantees of open markets. This was reasonable for Kazakhstan. And Russia, as a great power, could not behave this way, since foreign capital cannot be attracted to the defense industry.

Despite the fact that Russia and Kazakhstan follow approximately the same road, they do much better. Although the level of development of the financial sector and the standard of living are clearly lower than ours. Their banks are weaker than ours, but the Soviet-style standard of living is stable. Crowds of poor citizens do not run around the country. That is, Nazarbayev was able to successfully use his authoritarianism to suppress the natural selfishness of business. This is what the state exists for, to restrict its appetites. In Russia, this happened only in the period 2000-2008. Therefore, this is the most successful era in post-Soviet Russia.

“SP”: – That is, Nazarbayev has worked conscientiously and is leaving power with a light heart?

– Nobody leaves power with a light heart. Moreover, from the authoritarian one. This is impossible, because an authoritarian ruler is a living god, and the abolition of one’s own divinity never painlessly passes, therefore Nazarbayev is Elbasy. This is a special title, invented so as not to completely lose this divinity. Given that a person honestly gives power to another. You can’t rule forever. No disaster happened with his departure.

Nazarbayev is strong because, unlike many politicians, he thinks about what will happen after him. He leaves not because he is kicked out and not only because they are getting old, but because he believes that it will be better for the system. If he wanted to reign until his death as Brezhnev or Karimov, he would have ruled until his death and no Tokayev would have appeared in power. This is a deliberate choice of Nazarbayev. And this ability of Nazarbayev is a rare success of Kazakhstan.

“SP”: – Does Vladimir Putin have such a quality? Thinking about what will happen after him?

– So we’ll see. As Churchill said, the greatest politician is not the one under which everything works, but the one after which everything works.

In the opinion political scientist Dmitry ElovskyThe departure of Vladimir Putin from the presidency in 2024 will not necessarily be beneficial for Russia.

– I am sure that Russia is closely watching the transit of power in any more or less comparable country. And in Kazakhstan, and in Ukraine, and in Belarus and even in Georgia or Armenia. Still, these countries are close to us in terms of the mentality of people, and if somewhere the transit goes badly, this is a great lesson in how not to do it.

But I do not think that Kazakhstan’s transit will become an example for Russia. Russia as a state is very different from Kazakhstan. Our country is much larger, we have a more complex economic structure, we have many nationalities, although we have a similar political system. Therefore, there is no need to say that Putin should repeat Nazarbayev. But you can take into account his experience.

“SP”: – Is the obligatory turnover of power still an unconditional guideline?

– The leader must leave his post after some time so that the new person can take a fresh look at the development of the country, suggest other options. A person who has been in power for a long time experiences many temptations, becomes overgrown with obligations that limit freedom of maneuver, and he begins to act in the interests of the environment, and not the voter.

By the way, this is true not only for politics, but also for business. Almost any leader stagnates, begins to think stereotyped. Some people manage to avoid this and they manage their structures for decades. For example, Warren Buffett… And someone’s “blows away” in five years and he brings the system to a crisis. This is a whole special area of ​​management practice.

So the turnover of power in a country is always a matter of a complex combination of political culture, history, expediency and moment. Sometimes you can sacrifice the turnover of power in order to preserve more important priorities: territorial integrity, economic stability. etc. Blind adherence to dogma can lead to the collapse of the state. There have been such examples in history.

And here chief editor of the information portal “Russians in Kazakhstan” Ilya Namovir does not believe that Nazarbayev has left completely.

– The next transfer of part of the official powers from the first president to the current one may, of course, look like Nazarbayev’s gradual departure from the imperious Olympus, but in fact it is too early to talk about it. The post of chairman of the Assembly of the Peoples of Kazakhstan is more of a beautiful formality, as, incidentally, is this body itself, and the transfer of power by the main party of the country has not yet taken place until the end – the current chairman of the Nur Otan party remains the Elbasy himself until the next congress.

And the party itself is an important, but not a key instrument in the power vertical in Kazakhstan. So far, everything looks like Nazarbayev has thus given the go-ahead for the possible nomination of Tokayev for a second presidential term. Although the suddenness and secrecy of the event itself give rise to conjectures and rumors, it is quite in the spirit of the first president – to look at the reaction of the elites and his entourage and draw appropriate conclusions.

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